By: Kelly Beharry
What is World Health Day?
World Health Day is on April 7, 2017, and is organized by the World Health Organization (WHO). It is an annual celebration of the anniversary of the founding of the WHO. It aims at providing people all over the world with a unique opportunity to mobilize action around a specific health topic of concern. This year’s topic of promotion is Depression and informing people of what it is and ways to deal with it. It is a condition that affects many teens and young adults, and awareness of it is not just important, but necessary.
What is Depression?
Depression is an illness characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in activities someone normally enjoys, accompanied by an inability to carry out daily activities for at least two weeks. Symptoms of depression include loss of energy, change in appetite, sleeping more or less, anxiety, reduced concentration, indecisiveness, restlessness, feelings of guilt or hopelessness, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide. It is a condition that could happen to anyone, and it is important to know that it is not a sign of weakness.
What To Do If You’re Depressed?
- Talk to someone you trust about your feelings.
- Keep up with the activities you used to enjoy.
- Stay connected with family and friends.
- Stick to regular eating and sleeping habits.
- Exercise regularly, even if it just a short walk.
- Seek professional help: a local health care worker, a doctor, therapist, etc.
- Accept that you have depression and that you may not be able to complete activities at your fullest potential.
- Avoid drugs, as they can worsen depression.
- If you feel suicidal, contact someone immediately for help.
More Than Just a Cliché?
We’ve all heard the sayings, “See the glass half full, not half empty,” “everyday may not be good, but there is something good in every day,” and “look on the sunny side of life.” These sound like phrases “cockeyed optimists” may say, but science is now finding that these saying may actually be detrimental to health. When facing a health crisis, positive emotions can boost the immune system and combat depression. Studies have linked positive outlooks and health benefits like lower blood pressure, less heart disease, better weight control, and lower blood sugar levels. In order to train to help people to feel happy and calm, there are 8 skills that are encouraged:
- Recognize a positive event each day.
- Savor that event and log it in a journal or tell someone about it.
- Start a daily gratitude journal.
- List a personal strength and note how you used it.
- Set an attainable goal and note your progress.
- Report a relatively minor stress, and list ways to reappraise the event positively.
- Recognize and practice small acts of kindness daily.
- Practice mindfulness, focusing on the here and now rather than past or future.
*Information was retrieved from the World Health Organization and the New York Times*